Computers, Laptops & Tablets Google 5 Chromebook Productivity Tips Important Chromebook settings, Chrome OS apps, and more by Jack Wallen Writer Jack Wallen is a former Lifewire writer, an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com, and the voice of The Android Expert. our editorial process LinkedIn Jack Wallen Updated on September 26, 2020 Google Microsoft Apple Google Tablets Accessories & Hardware Tweet Share Email The Chromebook has become one of the most widely-used laptops on the planet. With good reason: They’re simple to use, reliable, fast, and don’t suffer under the weight of viruses and malware. But for those who depend on their mobile devices for substantial productivity, how can you make that Chrome OS laptop work more efficiently? Here are five Chrome OS productivity tips that will go a long way to helping you become more prolific with your Chromebook. Work With Google Drive While Offline If there’s one major misconception about the Chromebook, it’s that it cannot work without a network connection. The ability to function offline is crucial, especially for those who travel with their Chromebooks or find themselves in situations where there’s no internet connection. How do you ensure you can work with your Chromebook when you don’t have a network connection? It’s quite simple. Follow these steps: Make sure your Chromebook is connected to a wireless network. Open Chrome and point it to the Google Docs Offline extension. Select Add to Chrome. When prompted, select Add extension. Go to drive.google.com/drive/my-drive and click the Settings gear. Select Settings. Select the checkbox for the Offline option. Select Done. You can now work with Google Drive while offline. Pin Apps to the Taskbar Like most operating systems, you can pin apps to your Chromebook taskbar. It's much more efficient to launch those apps (instead of going through the Menu to find them). To pin an app to the taskbar, follow these steps: Select the menu button in the bottom-left corner of the desktop. Select the upward-pointing arrow to open the application overview. Locate the app in question, two-finger tap the application’s launcher and select Pin to shelf. Enjoy faster access to that application. Add a Website Shortcut to the Taskbar Similar to adding apps to the taskbar, you can also add specific websites to the taskbar, and even add them to run in their application window (as opposed to a tab in Chrome). This option is convenient when you have a site you frequently use for productivity (say a CMS tool, your banking site, or social media site). Here are the steps to make this happen: Open the site in question in Chrome. Select the Chrome menu button and go to More tools > Create shortcut. In the resulting window, give the shortcut a name, select the box for Open as window, and choose Create. The above steps will not only create the shortcut but will pin the shortcut to the taskbar. When you click that shortcut, it will open the site added in its particular app window (without the standard toolbars and other features of the regular Chrome browser). Use the Overview Your Chromebook includes an overview feature that will display a thumbnail of each of your currently running apps/windows. To use this feature, tap the square button with the two vertical lines. The Overview allows you to select which app you want to work with (by clicking the app in question) or closing an app/window (by clicking the associated X in the upper right corner of the app/window in question). Dictate to Google Docs Google has one of the best speech-to-text engines on the market, and you can take advantage of that by dictating your work into Google Docs for hands-free writing. To make this happen, you must first enable the on-screen keyboard. To do that, follow these steps: Select the system tray at the bottom right corner of the desktop. Select the gear icon. Scroll to the bottom and choose Advanced. Scroll down to Accessibility and select Manage accessibility features. Scroll down and select the On/Off slider for Enable on-screen keyboard to the On position. Close the Settings window. Now open Google Drive, create a new document, and follow these steps: On the taskbar (at the bottom of the window), select the keyboard icon to reveal the on-screen keyboard. Select the mic icon. Start dictating your text. Enjoy Better Productivity on Your Chromebook With these five quick tips, you should experience a much more efficient level of productivity on your Chromebook. Never let anyone tell you again that a Chromebook is nothing more than a web browser.